The Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) has called on the government of Nigeria to take concrete action to secure the release of the kidnapped Abuja–Kaduna train passengers.

PLAC also called on the National Assembly to use their constitutionally mandated oversight powers to pressure the country’s security forces to rescue the hostages.

An armed group attacked a Kaduna-bound train from Abuja on 28 March, 2022, killing at least eight passengers, with over 100 others abducted or declared missing.

The abductees comprise men, women, including pregnant women, and children. On 15 May, the kidnappers released one of the pregnant captives.

Families of the kidnap victims have held repeated protests calling for the release of their loved ones. And PLAC, in a statement, said there was no indication that authorities are making any genuine effort to release them.

‘PLAC is concerned that to date, there has been no action taken by the federal government of Nigeria to secure the release of the Abuja-Kaduna train passengers’, the statement read.

‘It is important to note that these passengers are the responsibility of the Nigerian government who own the train, once they boarded the train.

‘These kidnap victims have been held in the wild forest by their kidnappers who have regularly posted their videos and pictures online to the distress of their families and a bewildered nation.

‘PLAC calls on President Muhammadu Buhari and the federal government to indicate very clearly measures being taken to secure the release of the Abuja–Kaduna train kidnap victims’.

PLAC also urged the government and security agencies to indicate publicly and assure Nigerians what steps are intended to be taken to protect passengers using train services across the country to avoid any future incident of kidnap or security breach.

‘The deteriorating state of security in the country is a cause of worry to every Nigerian’, it added.

‘This is worsened by the fact that the federal government has not shown any known capacity, preparedness or even willingness to tackle the general insecurity around the country.

‘PLAC therefore calls on the National Assembly – Senate and House of Representatives – to bring to bear and fully exercise their constitutional responsibility of oversight of the federal government and its agencies charged with the responsibility of providing public services and defence of the country’.

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), in a statement signed by its Deputy Director, Public Relations, Yakub Mahmoud, had earlier revealed that the Abuja–Kaduna train service will resume on 23 May, 2022.

Photo source: Paul Kagame

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